June 03, 2013

Beer Gardens & Picnic Groves

Places of Entertainment:
The Beer Gardens
The Chicagoan
Some Background:
The German Beer Riots of 1855
 German-Americans, a dominant population at the time, 
were serious about their beer gardens
One of the largest groups of migrations to the City of Chicago in the mid to late 19th century were the Germans of Europe.  
By 1890 one third of all the saloon-keepers were of German ancestry. According the publication Hidden History of Ravenswood & Lake View by Patrick Butler, "where in 1914 one-third of Chicago's 600,000 Germans - most of them living in Lake View area - signed a resolution pledging Austrian Emperor Franz Joesph and Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm 'our unchangeable love of the home and Fatherland'." Before World War I naturalist patriotism and beer was complimentary for the Germans who among others, liked to be social and loved to 'get their drink on'! 
From the city's beginnings beer and Chicago are nearly synonymous. In fact, two taverns were among the first businesses in the city. In time most of the breweries built in the city were located on the north side near the border with Lake View township because brewers discovered that area topography was most favorable to building cool, underground 'aging rooms' conditions most suitable within a commercial buildings' basement.
The event in this article from the publication called Lake View Saga 1847-1985 posted below, while located in the City of Chicago, does tell a tale of the popularity of beer to an important social group in the city having ripple affect in neighboring townships and communities around Chicago.
 Bismarck/Marigold Gardens/Arena
from a beer garden to boxing/wrestling to condos
Most of the following images are from Chicago History in Postcards, Bid Start, Ebay, and/or Chuckman Collection
before Bismarck there was ....
The Garden City House
1891 Rascher's Atlas Map
zoomed view below

Located on the corner of Halsted and Grace with the beer garden fenced currently the location for the IHop
1894 Sanborn Insurance Fire Map 
The ethnic Germans of the old Lake View (1857-1889) and the visiting residents of Chicago liked to be social and loved to get their drink on! One in particular popular place to do just that was the Bismarck Gardens.
1894 Sanborn Fire Map zoomed
Bismarck Gardens was located at the southwest corner of Grace and Halsted Streets in old District of Lake View. It opened in 1894 by brothers Emil and Karl Eitel to serve the sizable number of German-Americans living on Chicago's North Side (Emil was a resident of the East Ravenswood community of Lake View). The park-sized space quickly became one of the city's most popular summertime beer gardens. It featured ample shade trees, electric lamps,
 an outdoor stage and dance floor,
 and plenty of German beer and music. 
image - 'Challenging Chicago' donated by Perry Duis 
with book contribution by Jackie Arreguin
postmarked 1903
postcard - My personal collection
from Richard's Tourist Guide of Chicago 1904 edition
1914 image - Chicago Daily Tribune
Bismarck Gardens did have issues with its neighbors much like the neighbors surrounding Wrigley Field today – parking and noise! Other issues were WWI anti-German sentiment, labor strikes, and Prohibition Act of 1919.
Bismarck Gardens had to rename it establishment to Marigold Gardens by 1916, in response to rising anti-German sentiment in the city before and during the First World War. 
In 1923, Marigold Gardens venue changed with new owners, new management, and new entertainment. For a brief time during the late 1920's, the gardens became known as Vanity Fair known for its cabaret shows. It was later well known by the mid-20th century for professional boxing/wrestling matches with another name change to Marigold Arena. One building remained by the 1960's.
photo - Chicago History in Postcards
The Bismarck's elegant and shady gardens have long since been paved over first with a parking lot in the 1960's and in 2014 as Halsted Flats (old garden area) but  parts of the former Marigold Gardens dance hall complex still stand, now converted to other another use. By the way, the Eitel brothers owned another piece of real estate but in the Loop area of Chicago called Bismarck Hotel - now called Hotel Allegro.
Most of these postcard images are from the Chuckman Collection, Chicago History in Postcards, and the Chicago Public Library Newspapers Archives & Linda Woods, a LVH contributor. In fact, most if not all of the postcards shown in the album were produced by the largest manufacturer of postcards in the late 19th to mid-20th century called Curt Teich yet another establishment in old hood.

Opened in 1894 not 1896 
by the German born Eitel brothers
Postcard caption highlights marble terrace 
and 'ice cooled to 70 degrees'
Marigold Room was most popular of the rooms
unknown date - Ebay
 postcard - Ebay

image - Ebay
Should We Go to Ravinia or Bismarck Gardens? 1908
(click on article to enlarge)
 postcard - Ebay
Chicago City of Neighborhoods via G. Schmalgermeier 
A review in 1910
(click on article to enlarge)
A Fire and Protest June 1913
images - Ebay
Nice & Easy Listening in July 1913
(click on article to enlarge)
advertisement 1915 - Chicago Daily Tribune
A New Marigold Room
 a zoomed view below
1916 advertisements - Chicago Daily Tribune
Parking was an issue in 1917

Postcard 1916 - CowCard.com
with sampling of the music of that era 
that may have been performed at the gardens along with possible live vaudeville acts
(click on article to enlarge)
Chicago Daily Tribune Ad 1914-1918
photo - Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago Daily News Ad 1918

3 photos above - Bid Start
 Dorothy Jane Weeghman at a charity event in 1915
Little Ms. Weeghman's father was the owner of the Cubs 
Daily News Archives
postcard from Ebay

Chicago Daily Tribune Ads 1914-1917

photos - Chuckman Collection 
or Chicago History in Postcards
View the photo interactive transition of the building from past to present. The Chicago Tribune articles below tell a tale of fame and evolution for one of the famous beer gardens in Chicago. 
Big Bill Thompson, a resident of Lake View and candidate for Mayor of Chicago campaigns at the Gardens in 1915
Signage at Wrigley Field

photo with a zoomed view - Library of Congress
via Jeff Nichols, Forgotten Chicago on Facebook
Federal League Park (Wrigley Field) 1914 
with rooftop advertisement from the 'garden'
A Labor Strike 1917
a 1923 Chicago Daily Tribune ad
token - Ebay
The location as of 1923
color version vs black & white
 by this time greatly expanded
with a better zoomed view below
a 2020 Google Map Overlay
Some of the Performers
The Marigold Gardens nightclub was managed by Henry Van Horne after 1923. He promoted a young woman named a Ruth Etting. She was born in 1896 and died in 1978, first was ‘pin-up’ girl later to be known as a singer/actor. Her husband was a Jewish-American gangster named Martin "Moe The Gimp" Snyder. 
The story of their lives was made into the movie called
"Love Me or Leave Me" with Doris Day and James Cagney.
 Ruth Etting & chorus
 photo - unllib.unl.edu
with a personal testimonial of her grandmother 
from a contributor to LakeView Historical
Linda Wood mentioned: "My great grandmother was a dancer in the chorus and was friends with Ruth Etting--first newspaper clipping I have is 1915, and my great grandfather played the trombone with Fred Hamm in the mid-20s at the club. My great-grandmother was the wardrobe mistress for the Marigold and the other local dance palaces. I loved hearing the stories my mom retold of those old days. She is in the top row, third from the left." 
photo - Linda Wood 
highlighting her great grandmother
with a view of her great grandfather below
photo from Linda Wood with granddad on left
Fred Hamm and his Orchestra were a Big Band from Chicago that was managed by Edgar Benson of Benson Orchestra fame. Hamm's Orchestra performed at the Marigold Garden in Chicago from 1923 to 1925. Listen to the sounds of that band and its era with 
this link and this link.
 photo - Linda Wood
photo - Linda Wood
photo via John Crieghton
from Living History of Illinois and Chicago-Facebook
 'photos - Linda Wood/LakeView Historical-Facebook
The Beginning of the End for the Gardens
Mayor 'Big Bill' Thompson favors
  'DRY' Sundays - no booze. 
Interesting he chose an establishment that offered liquor on Sundays. Sundays was the workingman's only day off; popular with the religious and women voters but not for the liquor establishments like the Gardens. The 19th federal amendment to the US constitution would follow some direr times for the Gardens. Months before the national rule was active the Mayor of Chicago agreed to no liquor on Sundays to conform with a State of Illinois that was recently passed.
World War I years (1914-18) were years of difficult transitions for the Garden. The establishment almost closed mostly due to animate anti-German attitudes of anything German world-wide. Bismarck Gardens was named after the first German Chancellor Otto Van Bismarck of the united Germany. In Great Britain the royal family, due to public pressure, the royal family changed their last name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha in German) to an English surname - Windsor.  Apparently, the 'gardens' popularity during the war years was the beginning of decline. During the war years the Gardens owners changed the name to an English sounding name - Marigold Gardens - named after one of their enclosed dining areas their renovated in 1916.
from a book called 'Big Bill of Chicago
The Preparedness Movement 1915-1916 evolved from German Empire eagerness to have Republic of Mexico join the European War against the United States entry to the European war - this did not help German-American establishments in America.
 - Charles Vazquez via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
A big deal for the Garden in 1915  
Trying to promote an allegiance 
to the US war effort to their German speaking customers
photo - a Linda Woods contribution
And then their was Union Labor Unrest in 1917
The Day Book - Library of Congress
A Bomb Plot in 1917
 Demands to change the name of their beer - 1917
Fill It Up!
beer pitcher per Ebay
 Beer mugs used at both the Gardens and their hotel 
that was located downtown photos - Ebay
Tea for Two
photos - Ebay

Listen to the sound of Verne Buck band via YouTube 
Listen to the sound of Joe Kayser band via YouTube 

image below - Calumet 412

The Ernie Young's Fall Frolics featured a semi-nude dancer named Sally Rand - view one of her performances

A Cabaret by 1922
 Marigold Gardens is CLOSED IN 1923!
A Narrative on the Owners in 1928
he fell in love with a relative of the former mayor of Lake View


The Eitel's Brothers' other Properties
The Bismarck Hotel
Vanity Fair 
a new era for the property

Apparently during the late 1920's this music venue went through a lot of management & name changes. For a brief time period the old gardens became known as Vanity Fair ... 
apparently twice closed and then reopened.
the matchbook is part of my collection
The New VANITY FAIR by 1932

The Boxing & Wrestling Years:
It was called Marigold Arena

By the late 1930's through early 50's Marigold now Arena became the location for nationally acclaimed boxing/wrestling matches
below is a review in 1978

Sample Articles
(click on article to enlarge)

Boxing Metal 1932 - Ebay
Concerts during the Depression 
An Aerial View in 1938
NETR Historical Aerials
a boxing medal
 images - Ebay
Boxing line-up card - (front & back) Ebay
a 1939 ticket
image - Ebay
a 1940 Advertisement ...
a 1941 ticket
 from Ebay 
a 1941 article about a Boxing Event
 Scorecard 1949 - Ebay
1949 ticket - Ebay
Boxing Photo in 1949
1953 tickets - Ebay
 photo - Ebay

A Memory:
Val Ginter remembers "I went there for wrestling a lot while in grammar school around 1949 until about 1952. My dad worked with Lou Talaber, whose son Frankie was a famous wrestler, and Lou was a referee--though not at his son's matches. So we always got free passes to either Madison Arena or Marigold Gardens. During intermission, I used to hang out by the WGN-TV mobile unit. We used to buy Wrestling As You Like It, and my covers were filled with autographs I got from Farmer Don Marlin, Billy Hickson, Dutch Howlett, and the names go on. My dad destroyed all of that when I went into the army. He didn't like the idea that I had so many autographs of men. (That's a gender analysis for the therapists.)"
Ringside Tickets 1953 - Ebay
Newsletters from Ebay

For TV Viewing
image above - Ebay
image below - Forgotten Chicago website
Lady Wrestling ...
Jack Brickhouse in the 1950's
‘Wrestling from Marigold’ is an American sports program broadcast from the Marigold (Gardens) Arena in Chicago which aired on the Du Mont Television Network from Saturday, September 17, 1949, until March 1955. The show was either 90 or 120 minutes, usually on Saturdays at 9pm ET, and continued to be broadcast on WGN-TV as a non-network show until 1957 starring Jack Brickhouse and Vince Lloyd. The show was broadcast live by WGN from Marigold  Arena and produced by National Wrestling Alliance with promoter as the Fred Kohler, with play-by-play by Jack Brickhouse and Vince Lloyd as the announcers. This was the last network TV broadcast of wrestling in the U.S. until 'Saturday Night's Main Event' on NBC in 1985 - Wikipedia
Jiu Jitsu Classes in the 1960's
Ebay photos
A Building Transformation in 1937
property leased in 1937
 (click on article to enlarge)

Property Sold by 1950

Challenging Chicago: Coping with Everyday Life 
Places to Eat & Drink After an Event: 
The Wishing Well
Trail's End

On the corner of Bradley Place & Halsted stood
Marigold Car Service by 1952
and then later in 1963 
along Bradley Place and Halsted
it became Marigold Car Wash (and gas station?)
image - David Akiyama contributor
part of  my collection
Harry Fischman Liquors
On the southwest corner of Halsted Street & Grace where the original building once stood was Harry Fischman Liquors, a member of High/Low Liquors during the 1950's
 and the Foremost Liquors by 1966. 
Both stores had an address of 3766 N Halsted Street
A Religious Congregation takes Over in 1963
A Development Planned in 2009
just before the planned development
According to this interactive aerial photography (1962-1973) the most buildings and garden structures of the beer garden space had disappeared or had been replaced 
with a parking lot and a Ihop.
photo below - Tony Garza/LakeView Historical
view towards Bradley Place from Halsted
The New Look Planned by 2010
 images via DNAinfo
This is the original proposed 'planned development' for what was picnic grove area of Bismarck/Marigold Gardens. The grayish dwelling drawing at the top right was the Marigold Room. The small grayish drawing next to it is the pancake house 
where the initial beer garden building stood. 
The grayish dwellings are not part of the proposed development. 
Construction began in 2012

 photo - garry albrecht
photo - garry albrecht
photo - Yo Chicago
Across the Street on Grace Street:
Bowling at Marigold Arcade
 Across the street on Grace beginning in 1941 the 'Marigold' name would continue with a new a different kind of business - a bowling alley while at the same time the Marigold Arena popularity in boxing/wrestling matches continued ...
Across the street to the old gardens was the Marigold Arcade. The name of the Marigold Gardens lived on throughout the 20th century from 1941-2004 before this bowling alley-arcade was replaced with condos. The arcade was located across the street from Bismarck Gardens on south-side of Grace Street.
A Chicago Trib article 1950
(click on article to enlarge)
Matchbook Cover - Ebay
photos - Dr. Jake's Bowling History Blog
a 2003 mention from The Rough Guide to Chicago
The Other Beer Gardens of the Area:
The Kaiser Gaerten
1910 postcard - Chuckman Collection
a 1894 map view below
a view of the area with a zoomed views of the building
Some sorta of dance hall remained by 1923
The Name-Bearer
Below a photo of Kaiser Wilhelm I below who was first German emperor 1871-1888 and King of Prussia 1861-1888
Thielmann's Resort & Gardens
built in the Township of Lake View as Fisher's Gardens
This garden/resort was a very popular dinner place according 
to several references discovered online.
1887 Sanborn Map from Historic Map Works
know at the time as Fisher's prior to 1890
The announcement in 1890
1891 Rascher's Atlas Map
notice Boat Loading Dock, Plank Walk, and Pavilon Platform 
jetting into the lake below
1894 Sanborn Fire Map 

highlighting the existing shoreline
with a zoomed view below

some photos from the Chicago Daily Tribune
Fire in 1900
Franz Thielmann also owned 
Lincoln Park Beach 
apparently just an outside summer entertainment area
along with his resort buildings  
postcard - Ebay
1893 ad - Chicago and its Suburbs
this 1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the entrance 
off Lake View Avenue with a zoomed view below
zoomed further still below
Some 1894 Advertisements:
Apparently by 1910 Thielmann's Lincoln Park Beach was closed but with future plans for area by the city
The Rienza Beer Garden & Café

images - Ebay
The Rienzi Cafe and Beer Garden was located at east of Evanston (Broadway) Avenue and Diversey (Boulevard) Parkway. Emil Gasch was the owner and proprietor. The cafe was open from 1901 to at least 1916, according to a news report about a death at the restaurant printed in the July 13, 1916, issue of the Logansport Pharos-Tribune. The Lincoln Park Plaza currently occupies this location. 
A Sanborn Fire Map view in 1894
 a zoomed view of the location below
postcards - Chicago History in Postcards
Beer garden space 1910 
postcard - Chuckman Collection 
image - Ebay
text - Forgotten Chicago Discussion Group
... and then transitioned from a beer garden cafe
to a apartment hotel one door east of the initial location
Business card front and back - unknown date Ebay
 1923 Sanborn Fire Map indicating the Hotel Rienzi
and maybe the original cafe west of it. The cafe is not indicated on the 1894 map.
a closer look at the 1894 map zoomed
and once part of Wright's Grove 
during the township days
From this same spot in 1860 stood the mustering Civil War Camp called Camp Fry that was once referred to as the area of  Wright Woods and then shortly later the subdivision of Wright Grove.
text below from a publication called the Lake View Saga
“Ogden's Grove, Wright's Grove, Brand's Park, Hoffman Park, and Schutzen Park (pre-Riverview) are among the picnic groves that dotted the Chicago metropolitan area well into the twentieth century. Many were located along rivers and streams, which provided a picturesque backdrop for summer outings. Popular especially among German immigrants, these groves were the scene of special events sponsored by churches, businesses, unions, and clubs.” 
Wright's Grove
a series of articles
A Picnic in the Summer of 1860
Another Picinc in August
A 4th of July Celebration in 1869
A Detailed Gathering in 1871
A Musical Festival of 20 thousand in 1881
Belmont Grove
located across the street from Shuetzen Park; 
the future sight of Riverview Amusement Park
Ebay had this photo listed under Riverview Amusement Park; appears more like a Belmont Grove to me ?? 
 1894 Sanborn Fire Map with a zoomed view below
 Miller's Garden
1894 Sanborn Fire Map with a zoomed view below
Poplar Grove
1894 Sanborn Fire Map with a zoomed view below
Columbus Grove
Belmont/Sheffield location
(no name indicated)
but by 1921 this space became Merry (dance) Gardens known for its roaring 20's & marathon 30's dancing
 1894 Sanborn Fire Map sheet 65
with a zoomed view below from a 1923 map
Addison/Ashland location
(no name indicated) (list as a summer garden)

 1894 Sanborn Fire Map 
a zoomed view below
Clark/Lawrence location
(no name indicated)
Township of Lake View
south of Lawrence Avenue along Clark Street 
a 1887 view of the establishment on Lawrence
 1894 Sanborn Fire Map
with a zoomed view below
Other Beer Gardens of Note: 
Rainbo Gardens
District of Lake View
currently the Community of Uptown
once located at 4812-36 N Clark Street
The 1894 Sanborn Fire Map below indicates that this established was once a tavern/restaurant with a bowling alley on the property along side sheds for the horses.
Sanborn Fire Map 1894

All photos above - Jazz Age Chicago via Uptown Update
The Chuckman Collection Postcards

A 1922 Promotional Booklet via Ebay
(click on article to enlarge)

photo - Led Zeppelin Reference
along with its last day in pictures
Green Mill Gardens
District of Lake View
currently the Community of Uptown
4802 N Broadway
 image - underground bee
 photo - Chuckman Collections
image - Bank St Irregular
The Green Mill was once called Pop's Morse Gardens during the late 19th century within the District of Lake View according to Jazz Age Chicago. Much like the Rainbo Gardens this establishment had humble beginnings apparently has a roadhouse for tired travels. 
Harms Park
The Greater Community of Ravenswood
According the publication Hidden History of Ravenswood & Lake View (pgs 34-36) by Patrick Butler, in 1893 (then District of Lake View) there was a privately owned park that apparently resemble the picnic groves of an early period of Lake View Township. The picnic area was located at the northeast corner of Western Avenue at Berteau and then extended to Lincoln Avenue. 
A Celebration of 71 Years in 1945
By 1946 Mr. Harms sold his property to private developers. According to Curb Chicago, 'Mr. Harms bought the land in the late 1850's and used it as a picnic grove for many years, eventually putting up a family home (turned restaurant) in 1892. A year later, the land joined Chicago's park system. Forgotten Chicago details the $1.3M federal housing project nearly built on site in 1933, but the land came to sport single-family homes and a car dealership instead.'
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Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!